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You are watching: Will a 5000 watt generator run a welder

What size generator execute I should run a welder?

I get asked that a lot.

There are an excellent reasons why it renders sense.

You need to repair a gate that’s not close enough to family members powerA friend’s van is damaged down out on the trailYou desire to construct a greenhouse in your garden

But if it’s also small, you could damage or kill your high-quality welder.

Too big, and also it may price too much to run, be tough to move, and also take up too much room.

How to figure Out What size Generator For your Welder

This question usually takes among these forms, for example:

What dimension ggenerator execute I require for a 180 amp welder?Will a 7,000-watt generator operation a welder?How big of a welder can you run with a generator that X size?

These are actually every the same questions. You’re simply asking it from various viewpoints.

This Is exactly how You execute It

Generators, prefer welders, come in too many of various sizes. There space a many of functions and choices available. And you’ll have to decide if you desire 120-volt output, 240 volts, or both.

The trickiest point to watch out for is that generators are rated in total WATTS of power output, however welders room rated for calculation AMPERAGE.

That means you need to number out how countless watts a welder needs to create its rated amps.

How plenty of Watts Does your Welder Use?

There’s a very an easy math equation to move back and forth in between volts, amps, and watts:

Volts x Amps = Watts

Volts: The technical an interpretation is “a measurement of the distinction in electrical potential in between two points.”

Think the volts in the same means you think the water pressure. That the obtainable “push” the gets the electrical power going.

Amps: Amperes space a means to measure up the circulation of electrical current.

Keeping with our water it is provided analogy, think of amps as the price of flow in the pipes, rapid or slow.

Watts: A watt measures warmth energy. Together electrons flow through the circuit, friction renders heat, measure in watts.

So what you need is the voltage the welder uses, multiply by the entry amps that the welder.

Find her Welder’s input Power

Step 1: uncover the power & present levels

First, you require to understand what power and current levels your welder demands to run. A commonplace to find this information is in the manual.

Here’s an instance from the manual for the PrimeWeld pole 160.


Checking the specifications, once again, there room numbers here for “Current Input”. This label is easier to work-related with than some since it offers both intake voltage and also the input present needed by the welder.

It’s straightforward to number out exactly how much power you require in watt from a generator for her welder. For the 140-amp version, multiply:

120 volts entry x 23 amps = 2,760 watts

That’s just the straightforward number, however. It’s characteristic of power tools to use much an ext power to begin than it takes to save them running.

Generator devices advise adding up come 30 percent come the running watt to account for beginning devices.

2,760 watts x .30 = 828 watts

Add this 30 percent security margin come the straightforward running figure of 2,760 watts:

2,760 + 828 = 3,588

This amounts to 3,600 watts. This welder will need a generator rated at 2,800 operation watts, v a optimal rating the 3,600 watts.

Take away notes:

DON’T FORGET to include specified tolerance, favor our example was add to or minus 15 percent. ALWAYS add THE yongin IN.REMEMBER to ADD 30 percent come your total wattage come cover the beginning surge. The exception to this rule is if you’re making use of a value known as “I1max“. View the next section for more information.Input Values have the right to Have other Names too

Sometimes there are number of different types of electrical ratings. You may not have actually a rating ~ above the brand that’s specifically dubbed “input voltage” or “input current,” yet there are various other names for them.

No should be confused, however. Inspect for values with these name instead:

Input VoltageMax PowerMax VoltageV max or VmaxU max or UmaxU1maxInput CurrentMax AmperageMax CurrentA maxI maxI1max

Note that an option 5 in both cases has a notation of 1max. This surname specifically indicates main intake power.

I2 or I2max means output power.

The I1max rating is already adjusted for surging or starting watts. If friend calculate through I1max, you currently have your maximum starting watts rating without a require to include 30 percent.

Another unit you periodically see ~ above a generator for welders is the Kilovolt Amp or KVA.

For this unit 1,000 volts x 1 Amp = 1 KVA, the exact same as 1 Kilowatt (Kw).

Remember: Volts x Amps = Watts

Because 1 KVA = 1 Kw, a generator that provides 6 KVA of height power is likewise rated in ~ 6 kW.

Power it is provided Differences in between Inverters & Transformers

One important selection is whether her welding device is it is provided by a transformer or is an inverter welder. This matters due to the fact that with generators for welders, there is a quality called “dirty power.”

“Dirty Power” means small and also repeated fluctuations in the power level together the engine runs.

These fluctuations in power are referred to as “harmonic distortion” and also measured in devices of complete Harmonic Distortion, or THD. It’s presented together a percentage, for instance, “5 percent THD.”

Transformer-powered welders are quite forgiving of dirty power from a generator. Virtually any modern generator can run a transformer-powered welder.

The difficulty is through inverter-powered machines. Commonly called IGBT and MOSFET welders, they have difficulties with dirty power since their control circuits are easily damaged through harmonic distortions in the power supply.

Without getting too technical, these designs use capacitors to filter out distortion, smoothing the strength supply. An additional benefit of inverter strength is the welder itself deserve to be lighter.

A lot of of contemporary generators space designed with inverter filters, do them safe for inverter-powered welders.

If you have actually a transformer-powered welder, THD isn’t a problem, yet if you desire to run a computer, something digital, or one IGBT or MOSFET welder, you should be listed below 6 percent THD.

Other components Affecting your Choice

High Altitude Issues

At high altitudes, there’s much less oxygen. Gasoline, diesel, and propane engines run much less efficiently, making less power. Your welding generator will certainly make less wattage at high altitudes 보다 it would at sea level. Generator equipments advise plan on a 3.5 percent power loss for every 1,000 feet that elevation.

Depending ~ above the elevation, it could be barely noticeable, or it can be a lot less power. Generator equipments offer high-altitude kit to help.

Extra Tools and also Equipment

If you have to run extra tools like saws, grinders, drills and the like, you require to add at least another 2,000 watt to the capacity due to the fact that many grinders and reciprocating saws take it as lot as 1,800 watts to operate.

Also, consider fans, heaters, and lighting. It might actually it is in cheaper come buy a smaller generator because that these accessories 보다 one huge one to run both her welder and also extra tools.

Here’s a partial list of usual devices and also their power demands:

ApplianceRunning WattsStarting Watts
Coffee Maker17500
625W Microwave625800
Single 60W equivalent CFL bulb150
Room waiting Conditioner: 10,000 BTU15002200
Small Appliance2001700
8in. Bench Grinder14002500
Pressure Washer: 1 HP12003600
7-1/4in. Circular Saw14002300
Electric Chain Saw: 14in. Bar, 2 HP11000
10in. Table Saw18004500
Drill: 3/8in., 4 Amps440600
Drill: 1/2in., 5.4 Amps600900
Portable Heater (Kerosene, Diesel Fuel): 90,000 BTU500725
Battery Charger: 60 Amp v 250 Amp Boost1500/57500
LCD computer system Monitor250
Inkjet Printer150
Cell phone call Charger100

How lengthy Is the run Time?

This is how long a generator have the right to run at full demand, v a full tank of fuel. Some have the right to run as lengthy as 8-10 hours, if some huge generators might only critical a couple of hours in between refills if they’re functioning hard.


Generators are loud, although generally not as loud as part tools and also vehicles are. There are likewise exhaust fumes to consider, with the risk of carbon monoxide. Girlfriend can’t put a generator within safely, and they all have labels informing you not to execute this.

You need to make sure it’s ventilated well, protected from collisions or dropped items, cords have the right to reach your work-related area safely, and noise won’t be a trouble where the sitting.

Check the dB rating to see exactly how loud the is. Anything end 90 dB is damaging to hearing. 120-decibel ratings and over are tantamount to accurate deafening sounds like drag racers, artillery, jet aircraft, and hunting rifles.


This chart provides some National electric Manufacturers (NEMA) recommendations on extension cord length. Anytime possible, plug devices directly into the generator.

Your coffee device can brew till you take a break, then you can pour a cup as soon as you walk over and shut turn off the generator.

Total Wattage10 gauge cord12 gauge cord14 gauge cord16 gauge cord
2,400250 feet150 feet100 feet75 feet
4,800125 feet75 feet50 feet25 feet
7,20060 feet35 feet25 feet10 feet
9,60030 feet15 feet10 feet0
12,00015 feet000

Generators with 4Kw or more running wattage can quickly weigh over 2 hundred pounds. Wheel kits, wheelbarrow-style handles, and also lifting bales for hooks space all items that make points a lot less complicated when positioning such a heavy piece of equipment.

Related: What dimension Wire because that Welder expansion Cords?

Generator Sizing Chart for Welders

Here’s a rapid reference table I put together to give you an idea the what size generator you must be aiming for, relying on your welder’s existing level.

Welder present LevelMinimum Generator SizingRecommended Generator Size
Up to 160A7kva 0r 7000 watts8000+ watts
180–200A8kva or 8000 watts10,000+ watts
210-250A13kva or 13,000 watts15,000+ wats

Best Generators because that Welders

I’m walk with considerable portable generators here.

You don’t desire your generator working as well hard, running level out. It’s less complicated on your new power tree if it’s not breathing difficult to obtain the task done.

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Cleaner and more consistent power, less wear, and also longer life space the rewards that a tiny extra investment.